Legendary Entrepreneur Marva Allen Shares 3 Most Important Money Lessons

To say that Marva Allen is a serial entrepreneur and one of the most powerful image makers in the literary world is an understatement.

For the moment, Allen may be best known for guiding the iconic Hue-Man Bookstore  to global success, when she joined as majority partner and CEO in 2004, launching the careers of many authors, and hosting major events for newsmakers including President Bill Clinton, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Maya Angelou, Alicia Keys, and Jill Scott, to name a few.

Prior to Hue-Man, which shut down its brick-and-mortar business in 2012, Allen was president and a co-owner of USI, a multi-million dollar technology firm.

Allen’s latest project is a social platform and literary hub called Wordeee, aimed at connecting authors directly with their audience.

Throughout it all, she has kept her heart and mind open, eager to soak up and share the wisdom’s of life’s lessons. BE.com caught up with Allen for our series 3 Most Important Lessons About Money, and asked her to share her insights.

BE.com: What would you say are the three most important lessons you’ve learned about money? 


  1. Money is Freedom
  2. Money can be destructive. The idea needs no explanation. Look at our world today. There are many examples of money in excess, and the havoc and destruction it can cause in the wrong hands.
  3. Money can do much good in the world — though that is double edged. There are many ways in which money can be an opiate and many ways in which it can give a leg up to those most in need. Most non-profit organizations actually don’t help their cause unless they use their funding to give people the means to help themselves. I am big on adages, parables and so on: give an man a fish and he will be hungry tomorrow; teach a man to fish and he will eat forever.

How did you learn these lessons?

My father always said silver and gold will vanish away but a good education will never decay, and I wholeheartedly believe that. With a great education money is just an arm’s length away. And with discerning and critical acumen, the value of money is measured and tempered for what it is— a means of trade. I put no value on money per se.

What impact has your most important money lessons had on your life today?

I have been able to do the things I have always wanted to do; travel the world, experiment with the projects that I love, win or lose, and take time to rest and recover, because I don’t have to worry about the next paycheck. Yet, when I have not had money I found just as many interesting things to do without it. I never worry about money because I can always turn my experiences and knowledge into money. I am good at trading my experiences for money.

If you had one lesson you could convey to people about money, what would it be?

I would quote Rudyard Kipling: ‘If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, and lose and start again at your beginnings and never breathe a word about your loss . . . .” For me this is the reason the only reason for money to exist.